What needle should I use? How to match your sewing needle to your project
Hey ya’ll, today we’re going to talk about choosing the right sewing machine needle. I rarely mention which specific needle I used on a project, and then sometimes I get questions about what specific needle I used, so today’s post is going to clear that up.
I even made a video about needles and which ones I use for what. You can watch it below, or on YouTube here.
In summation, for those of you who skipped the video, if I don’t mention which needle I used, it’s because it was the 80/12 universal needle I use for 80% of my sewing.
What do the numbers on sewing needles mean?
Europeans and Americans size their needles differently, which is why you’ll see two numbers on sewing needles. The larger number, the bigger the needle for both. European needle sizes refer to millimeter measurements, in that a 100 needle is 1 mm in diameter. So if you see a 100/16 needle, the 100 is the European size and the 16 is the American size.
How to Choose the Right Sewing Machine Needle
- Match the fabric type. Universal needles will work for many fabrics, but you might need to switch to a ballpoint/jersey or stretch needle for knits or a microtex/sharp for tightly woven knit fabrics (like ripstop nylon). And of course, special fabrics like leather require a leather needle.
- Match the fabric thickness. The bigger the numbers on the needle, the bigger the needle. 80/12 needles will work for most midweight fabrics, but go to smaller needles for thinner fabrics and bigger needles for thick fabrics.
- Match the thread. If you’re using a thicker thread, you need a larger needle. Higher numbered thread weights are thinner threads, lower numbered weights are thicker.
If you’re not sure what weight your fabric is, this post might be helpful for you to see different types of fabric ranging from light to mid to heavier weights.
Great video. Thanks for sharing.
Thank you so much for this. I always wonder if I’m using the right size needle. Now I will be confident. 🙂
One of my problems is that I tend to keep using a needle even after it isn’t sharp anymore. Bad Habit.
Another very useful and informative video. To the point! (excuse the pun). ; ) Thank you again.
Hi, Melissa! Thank you for explaining this so clearly! Sometimes I get so confused on which needle to use and this video was perfect. Definitely bookmarking this page!
I have been machine sewing for a long time [over 60 yrs] This item was so clear it reminded me of what I should be doing. Thank you soh much.
Thanks Melissa very helpful
Thanks again for such awesome information that we can use on a daily basis and help us be better sewers!! you are so amazing to take the time out to help us out! I thank you from the bottom of my heart you have helped me in more ways than I can ever thank you for!!